8 People Every College Student Needs in Her Life
- Liberty University Sponsored Article
- 2016 26 Oct
College for me was the most exhilarating and challenging period of growth I had ever experienced. I went to my university feeling like an unprepared kid, and I left a few years later feeling like a capable and confident adult ready to take on the world. Looking back on my college experience, what stands out to me the most is the incredible relationships I had and the rock-solid community I built. My classes were important and what I learned was deeply valuable, but the people I got to know and love while I was in college shaped me more than anything else.
No matter what kind of college or university you attend, these eight key people can and will be life-changing and influential long after your years as a student.
1. The Older Mentor. There is so much you don’t know when you’re a college student, and it’s incredibly helpful to have somebody older to give you advice and share their experiences with you. Even if your mentor is just an older student, their perspective from a stage beyond your own will help you grow in more ways than one. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”
2. The Younger Mentee. One of the best parts of having a mentor who pours into you and helps you grow is then getting to pour into a mentee to also help them grow. The combination of an older, wiser mentor and a younger, less experienced mentee is a beautiful one, and it prompts so much growth in your heart, mind, and soul too.
3. The Wise Professor. It’s easy as a student to just show up to class and leave as soon as it’s over, but college is so much more impactful when you connect with your professors and build relationships with them. Start by attending a professor’s office hours to discuss a project or paper you’re working on, or even just to ask them for guidance in your college career. If you enjoy a particular professor’s class, even if it isn’t a class under your specific major, get to know them outside of the lecture hall. You’ll be surprised how great it can be to not just feel like an anonymous face in your classes and to actually get to know your professors as people instead of just teachers. “Walk with the wise and become wise,” Proverbs 13:20 says.
4. The Best Friend. Regardless of whether you go to college knowing lots of friends from high school or knowing nobody, finding that one friend (or more!) who will be by your side for all of the highs and lows of college is crucial. This is the person who you can laugh with, cry with, study with late at night, explore your college town with on the weekends, and make lifelong memories with over the years. It’s okay if this person changes over time, but it’s so sweet to have a close friend to do life with, especially when you’re away from home. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
5. The Godly Leader. This is different from a mentor. This person is a pastor, or a campus ministry leader, or a small group leader. Their focus is on you as a believer above all else, and they will be pointing you toward the cross and encouraging you in your personal walk with Christ through your relationship with them. This is a person you know will be praying for you diligently, someone you know you can trust and be vulnerable with even when life is hard.
6. The Polar Opposite. This is a friend (or acquaintance) who is different from you in a way that challenges and stretches you. They might be an athlete to your artist, or an atheist to your Christian. They might be of a different race, a different sexuality, or have a different background. This friend will open your eyes to a whole new way of living, and they will help you stay curious. We see throughout Scripture that Jesus often hung out with people very different than himself, and it’s a great example for us to follow in college!
7. The Off Campus Connection. It can be tempting to always stay on campus during your college years, but there often are so many great reasons to get outside of the college bubble and make connections with people off campus. When I was in college, I had two part-time jobs off campus, and I got to know amazing people through those jobs that left lasting impacts on me. And bonus: they’ll give you a break from always interacting with just students or professors! It’s a breath of fresh air to have an off campus friend of some kind.
8. The Coach. This could be a literal coach of some kind of sport or intramural activity, or it could be more broad. This person wants to help you hone your skills, whether it’s on the field or in a creative endeavor, or even in your academics. They’re focused, encouraging, motivating, experienced, and will spur you on diligently. "As iron sharpens iron," Proverbs 27:17 says, "so one person sharpens another."
While every student should take their college education seriously, it’s equally as important to build a solid, supportive community of all kinds of people while a student. Even if you're in school close to family and friends, widening your circles to include new kinds of people will add to the richness and quality of your life and just simply be so worth it.
Looking back on your college years, what kinds of people were most meaningful to you? Who helped you grow as a student, a believer, or just as a person?
Written by Rachel Dawson, editor for BibleStudyTools.com. Sponsored by Liberty University, training champions for Christ since 1971; and Liberty University Online, the largest Christian university in the world with over 200 online programs.
Publication date: October 26, 2016